America’s retail investors did not cause the flash crash, but 10 years later they have become a scapegoat for the SEC to justify the CAT supercomputer
WASHINGTON – The American Securities Association (ASA) today released the following statement on the 10th anniversary of the 2010 flash crash and once again called on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to protect America’s retail investors from identity theft and stop the collection of any of their personally identifiable information by the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) database:
“America’s retail investors did not cause the flash crash, but 10 years later they have become a scapegoat for the SEC to justify the CAT supercomputer which will collect and centrally store all of their sensitive personally identifiable information,” said ASA CEO Chris Iacovella. “The SEC’s CAT supercomputer is a direct threat to the right to privacy of every American investor and it puts millions of them at risk of identity theft by hackers from China, Russia, and our adversaries across the globe.”
The collection of retail investor PII in no way bolsters the ability of the SEC to oversee equity markets more effectively as the Commission has brought over 387 insider trading cases since FY2011. The CAT can surveil the marketplace and better understand market structure just as effectively by giving IDs to financial institutions, hedge funds, high-frequency and other large traders.
According to a nationwide Morning Consult survey, 72% of investors are not willing to put their personal information at risk in order to facilitate more insider trading cases, while 76% favor being allowed to ‘opt-out’ of having their PII collected under a system such as the CAT. There is growing momentum in Congress calling on the SEC to remove retail investor PII from the CAT. A group of Senate Republicans sent a letter to the SEC highlighting the CAT’s national security risks. Leading members of the House Financial Services Committee sent a similar letter.
ASA has been at the forefront of advocacy to remove retail investor PII from the CAT. ASA CEO Chris Iacovella penned an op-ed in The Hill titled “The National Security Risk No One Is Talking About.” To read our letter to the SEC, click here. To read our letter to the Senate Banking Committee, click here. To view a Morning Consult poll showing an overwhelming majority of American investors oppose sending their personal information to the CAT, click here.